Melissa Kirby

Melissa Kirby

What made you want to study your course at the University?

I always had a passion for music. I studied Music and Music Technology at A-level and I achieved grade 8 distinction in classical singing, alongside grade 5 trombone. I also took part in numerous extracurricular musical activities, including the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. In 2014 I became the first singer to be awarded the title of Bexley Young Musician of the year. 

Due to these studies and pursuits I knew that I wanted to do a degree in music, however I was also extremely interested in Psychology, which I studied at A-level too. When I found out that studying music at the University of Leeds would allow me to take modules in Music Psychology I knew it was the right course for me. I was intrigued by music therapy and music for children with special needs and/or disabilities. This is an interest that I have been able to develop and build on throughout my time at Leeds.

Describe the aspects of the course that you have enjoyed the most. 

During my second year I was elected as President of the Leeds University Union Music Society. This role required me to oversee the running of one of the largest societies in the union, and lead a team of over 30 executive and wider committee members. During my time as president I was responsible for chairing committee meetings, organising numerous concerts for our 8 different ensembles, arranging and running various socials throughout the year, liaising with the school of music, and ensuring the smooth running of the society as a whole. During my year as president the Society were awarded the title of ‘Best Performance Society’ at the University’s annual Riley Awards. 

For my dissertation I researched the role of music in the everyday lives of children with autism. I thoroughly enjoyed writing my dissertation as this topic is one that I am extremely passionate about. The dissertation module gave me the chance to carry out my own research and consider the possible implications of my research. I firmly believe that more research is needed to investigate the possibilities for the use of music with children and young people with autism. Because of this, I decided to apply for the MA Applied Psychology of Music at Leeds, where I will continue my undergraduate research in this area.

Tell us about your year in industry.

I completed a 12-month Internship at Warner Music UK, within the International Marketing team. 

I entered my internship with a very limited understanding of what full-time work would be like. I also had a limited understanding of the way in which the music industry works. By the end of my year in industry, I had gained a full understanding of the complex world of music marketing and achieved a year of experience working for one of the largest and most successful record labels in the world. I also had some amazing experiences, such as working at the Brits 2015, meeting my favourite childhood band, The Corrs. I also set up a workplace choir, which went on to, perform with Kylie Minogue.

 I learnt a great deal about myself, how I work, how I learn, and what I want from a future career. I believe that without my year at Warner I would not have been as successful in my final year at university, or had anywhere near the same work ethic. Thanks to my year in industry, I learnt how to structure my time, apply myself and work to my full potential, which are skills I know that I will carry with me throughout my academic studies and into my future career.

What are you planning to do once you graduate?

I have been accepted onto the MA Applied Psychology of Music at Leeds. After that, I am considering studying for a PhD, as I would love to continue my research into the role of music in the lives of children and young people with autism.